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When ''Snakes'' Fly

Joshua Rich's prediction: Samuel L. Jackson's thriller will slither to No. 1, but the movie's R rating may limit its gross, while boosting numbers for ''Accepted''

HI$$$$ Snakes ' teen-repellent rating may leave it burning a little less brightly at the box office
Image credit: Snakes on a Plane: James Dittiger
HI$$$$ Snakes' teen-repellent rating may leave it burning a little less brightly at the box office

You know what mother@#*$ing time it is, don't you? Snakes on a Plane opened late last night, baby! So what's going to happen? Will it be the mother@#*$ing No. 1 movie come Sunday? Ssssssssure. Although it does raise some questionssssss.

Look, nobody's kidding themselves here. Despite all the Internet hype and months of anticipation, this movie remains a pretty run-of-the-mill horror film (albeit one with a terrific title) that New Line didn't even screen for critics. And we know what that means. The thing to look for, then, is whether SOAP will be able to hold a crowd beyond the frenzied fanz who will line up to see it on Friday. Will word of mouth be strong enough to fill multiplexes through the weekend? Will its R rating limit its audience? Will this whole thing be one big letdown? I mean, of course it will be an anticlimax — there's almost no way any movie can live up to such huge buzz generated by frenzied fanz. But I do think the movie has enough momentum going into the weekend to take No. 1, especially because it's being released in 3,555 mother@#*$ing theaters. The high end of expectations has SOAP coming in around the $36.4 million that Freddy vs. Jason earned three Augusts ago. The low end is in the mid teens, where it is reportedly tracking. So let's say it'll wind up somewhere in the upper middle, $31 mother@#*$ing million.

The race could be a bit tight, however, because Universal's Justin Long college comedy Accepted is said to be tracking about even with SOAP. Now, as my man Lloyd Bentsen might say, ''Justin Long, you're no Samuel L. Jackson.'' Then again, Long's movie only has a PG-13 rating and therefore can attract more kids. Another theory that I heard is that a lot of youngsters may buy tickets to Accepted and then sneak into SOAP, boosting the comedy's box office receipts. Interesting. We'll see. Anyway, Accepted will earn a strong $19 mil in 2,913 locations.

Finally, MGM is distributing this summer's obligatory Hilary Duff release, Material Girls, in 1,509 venues. Big sis Haylie Duff and, yes, the great, Oscar-winning Anjelica Huston costar. Now, not to get too technical here, but you have your brilliant, classic, fantastic titles like Snakes on a Plane, and then you have...mother@#*$ing Material Girls. Which is not to be confused with, oh, Mean Girls, Uptown Girls, Calendar Girls, Beautiful Girls, Kiss the Girls, or The Golden Girls. What is this movie about? I have no clue from looking at the title. And I sure as hell can tell you that Material Girls is not the kind of moniker that will empower a base of frenzied fanz to fill theaters. I mean, it's not too late to change the title to something more descriptive or catchier like Two Rich Sisters Lose a Lot of Mother@#*$ing Money or, you know, Snakes in the Penthouse. You know that would boost box office a bit. Otherwise, I think the Duff girlsssss are going to be stuck with $6 mil.

Originally posted Aug 18, 2006
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